Cambodian and Vietnamese officials held a meeting to discuss border trade cooperation, as the Kingdom’s trade deficit with Vietnam continues to widen.
The meeting between Prey Veng provincial authorities and authorities from Vietnam’s Dong Thap province comes after an international border gate connecting the two provinces opened in May, said Prey Veng deputy governor Duch Kunthea.
Kunthea, who attended the meeting, said the governments decided to open the Banteay Chakrei border checkpoint to facilitate the import and export of goods between the countries.
“Most people in Prey Veng province export rice and mangoes to Vietnam, while Vietnam exports some construction materials, kitchen equipment and other items to Cambodia,” he said.
The Banteay Chakrei border gate has two gateways – a land corridor and a water corridor. However, he said since 2012, only the water corridor had been accessible.
“It is now easier for the people of both countries to import and export, through another land border,” he said.
At Monday’s meeting, he said, the Kingdom requested Vietnam buy more agricultural products from Cambodia.
“We asked the Vietnamese authorities to tell Vietnamese traders not to lower prices arbitrarily. Vietnam should inform the Cambodian side in advance how many tonnes of rice are needed per annum and what kind of rice,” he said.
Dong Thap provincial Department of Industry and Trade deputy director Vo Phuong Thuy told the VietnamPlus news agency on Monday that trade via the Banteay Chakrei border was worth $100 million last year – up 30 per cent from 2017.
In the first seven months of this year, the trade volume through the checkpoint amounted to $55 million, he said.
Cambodia’s exports to Vietnam between 2015 and last year reached slightly more than $1.18 billion, while Vietnam’s exports to the Kingdom amounted to $6.96 billion, said a Ministry of Commerce report.
It said trade between Cambodia and Vietnam amounted to $2.68 billion last year, of which the Kingdom exported $362 million and imported $2.32 billion.
During the first three months of this year, it said, Cambodia exported $75 million to Vietnam, as imports reached $623 million.
Cambodian Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said opening the land corridor in Prey Veng province will boost trade with Vietnam.
“The opening of the border checkpoint will facilitate the export of agricultural products and tourists arrivals. However, Cambodia needs strict law enforcement to prevent tax evasion here,” he said.